Flame

Stewart Davies

World-class Bullshitter
Flame

Written: 2003-11-02

Stewart Davies is one of the funniest Hate Mail entries ever (well, I suppose your mileage may vary, but I certainly thought he was). Do you remember those guys in high school whose low self-esteem led them to invent larger-than-life stories for themselves? They had sex with more women than you, they had more money than you, their parents made more money than your parents, their fathers were Green Berets who got the Congressional Medal of Honour in Vietnam, etc? Do you remember what you called them? That's right, you called them Bullshitters.

Sadly, it's ten times easier to be a bullshitter on the Internet, where people can't even tell how old you are, or even what gender you are. A 40 year old man can pretend to be an 8 year old girl, a 15 year old kid can pretend to be a senator, and anyone with a keyboard can pretend to combine the skills of Rambo, Oppenheimer, Josey Wales, and Bruce Lee. With that in mind, ask yourself if this guy's very first E-mail to me already sounds like the bleatings of a classic Bullshitter:

You cite expertise as a factor in this anallissis. I am an expert in WSA. In 1986, I was paid 6,650 per month in salery and more in bennies and other compensation for that skill. While your arguments are very good and enlightening, I saw nothing that could change this and several points that might be flawed.

"Wait a minute", you're thinking, "did that guy just brag about his salary in his very first E-mail to a total stranger?" Sadly, yes. This is, of course, the first giveaway that he's a Bullshitter. Anyone who's ever had a real job will know that real professionals do not brag about their salaries to complete strangers by way of introduction! In fact, it is considered extremely unprofessional to ever brag about salary, never mind doing it as a way of introducing yourself to strangers or establishing your competence. So you really don't need to read too far into his material to see that he's obviously a Bullshitter who's probably stringing together pieces of other peoples' biographies in order to construct his fake online persona. But wait, it gets better!

I will read more before I am prepaired to argue them though and hope that you will consider my points before then. I also appologise for my grammar and spelling. One half of my brain has a 185 point IQ, while the other resembles "Forest Gump" and they are disconected by one of the origional casses of Dyslexia on record. ( I would sincerely appreciate a spell checker for this feedback device.)

As an expert, (will send witnessed targets if you wish) Any hand weapon that is limeted to 30m is shear folly. I once won a $100 bet with the Chief of Police from Taif, KSA that I could hit a 14" gong, 200m away, with a .22 pistol before any of his mewn could do the same with their rifles. The kind of training that the "dust buster" implies would make those kinds of ranges possable to almost any person with a decent side arm. As proof I will train you if you will pay for the ammo and range rental.

This brings up my favorite peev about the light saber. Kool it certainly is but as a weapon it is a dud that is too dumb for words. "Less random than a blaster" implies that blasters must be terribly inaccurate, as I have made head shots under opperational pressure at ranges exceeding 60m and one at 109m. In all of those engagements I never had to shoot twice!

Hmmmmm, do you smell a braggart? In all of my time running this website, I have never before run into someone whose inflation of his own abilities was more obvious. This guy brags about his military expertise, brags about his monthly salary, brags about his IQ, brags that he can hit a roughly 1 foot wide target 200 metres away with a handgun (more easily than men with rifles!), claims that he made a head shot at 109m (even though soldiers are trained to shoot for centre of mass, unlike people who play Unreal Tournament on their computers), and even claims that he has seen extensive combat but never had to shoot twice (for those who don't know, the round from a standard-issue military handgun drops by more than 2½ feet over a 100 metre distance, so you can't even aim directly at the target; you must point the gun up in the air and use it like a mortar in order to score a hit at that range). What won't he brag about? His big muscles?

PS I studied Kendo while in Japan and Ethiopia, so I know a little bit about sword work too. (Not much as I got bored with all the rote exercises and quit after only a year and a half but enough to know that nothing I've seen in the movies is that good without wire work.) PPS My reflexes and strength alowed me to beat my origional Japanise instructor more than he beat me after the first two months in class. 60 pounds, 0.13 second reflexes and a 228 bench press will do that for you.

Oops, he went and bragged about his big muscles too, didn't he? The part where he brags about his big muscles and fast reflexes is just priceless, isn't it? Especially when he says he kicked his Kendo instructor's ass after just a few lessons. And what's the bit about a 228 pound bench press? Is that supposed to be a world-class benchpress? How did he even load up the bar with 228 pounds? For those who don't know, barbell weights come in fairly standardized denominations of 45 lbs, 25 lbs, 10 lbs, 5 lbs, and 2½ lbs. Heavy-duty bars weigh 45 lbs. As you can see, it would be rather difficult to load up a proper weightlifting bar with 228 lbs; you would need special odd-denomination weights just to make it happen (unless, of course, he's using some really cheesy machine which actually has a "228 lb" setting or one of those "home gym" sets with small weights that were meant for women, but no serious weight trainer would use such equipment). In case you're wondering, 228 lbs does not work out to a round number in metric units either, and perhaps more to the point, why is he even bragging about it? Only dilletantes do that "how much ya bench?" thing; serious strength trainers don't concern themselves too much with a single-rep benchpress, and won't be impressed by 228 pounds anyway.

At first, I didn't even bother answering. How much entertainment value could there be in debating an obvious lying braggart? But wait, it gets better! You see, he signed up on my bulletin board, with the handle "Stewart at SDI". SDI, as you may know, is the well-known acronym of the Strategic Defense Initiative announced by US President Ronald Reagan in 1983. It was popularly known as the "Star Wars Missile Defense" program. Well, what better way to instantly establish one's credentials in a sci-fi debate than to associate oneself with a US government space technology program? So Stewart announced himself as "Stewart at SDI" and thought he'd stun the crowd with a collection of oh-so-innovative "Star Trek is more advanced!" claims such as the "Fed ships can cross the galaxy in hours, and Voyager voluntarily chose to take years doing it" argument and of course, the ever-popular "transporters make the Feds invincible" argument. You can see his stunning introduction and subsequent reception in the following threads:

http://bbs.stardestroyer.net/viewtopic.php?t=38895 (his "introduction")
http://bbs.stardestroyer.net/viewtopic.php?t=38898 (he claims the asteroids in TESB were "soft lumps of talc")
http://bbs.stardestroyer.net/viewtopic.php?t=38933 (I showed the board members the E-mails he had sent me)
http://bbs.stardestroyer.net/viewtopic.php?t=39567 (his "Death Star" argument)
http://bbs.stardestroyer.net/viewtopic.php?t=39561 (I call him out to debate me, and he tries to do so)
http://bbs.stardestroyer.net/viewtopic.php?t=39563 (others comment on the above debate)
http://bbs.stardestroyer.net/viewtopic.php?t=41204 (continuation of above)
http://bbs.stardestroyer.net/viewtopic.php?t=40248 (continuation of above, focused on his bogus claims about his shooting prowess)
http://bbs.stardestroyer.net/viewtopic.php?t=41749 (Stewart continues vainly trying to establish his credibility)

Feel free to peruse these discussions at your leisure. Suffice it to say that he sets new standards for foolishness. Some of his greatest hits are shown below:

Stewart on his own "expertise":

My background and expertise. Twenty years in Government service, beguinning in the Army Security Agency/SOD, becomming an "independant contractor" ending as Dean of Technology at the Stratigic Defense Institute, with a second in Weapons Systems annalysiss.
__________________
Stratigic Defense Instatute, We provide Elegant Solutions to your Insolvable Problems

Dean of Technology, eh? What is this "Stratigic Defense Instatute?" A university whose dean can't even spell its name? But the absolute funniest part of all was when some of the other people on my webboard challenged Stewart to explain what this mysterious "Strategic Defense Institute" was, since it obviously had nothing to do with Reagan's SDI.

If you want to hire us, send a writen synopsis of your problem and we will send you a quote and contract, specifiing; terms, paramiters, time to compleation and the qualifications of the person(s) who will work on your needs. Upon receipt of funds, we will beguin to work on your problem.

Stewart Davies,
Strategic Defense Institute,
4801 Barreville Rd.
Crystal Lake, Il. 60012

This attempt to produce a business address resulted in the following hilarity:

  1. One of my webboard members ("Ted C") promptly determined that this business had neither a Yellow pages listing or an entry in the Crystal Lake Chamber of Commerce.

  2. Another user ("Geran") found that the address he gave for this "Strategic Defense Institute" was a residential house, listed under the name of "Kit S. Davies" with a telephone number of (815) 444-1902. In short, he obviously gave his home address! And it's not even registered in his name, which means it's probably his parents' house!

  3. He says that their standard contract is full payment, up front, before they even begin working on the "insolvable problem" that they will supposedly solve. Anyone with any experience in business knows that nobody in his right mind will agree to such ridiculous terms.

  4. When asked to explain what kind of "problems" they solve, he said: "Our specialty of thinking "out side the box" is not in large demand, but when "unconventional approches" are needed, we can set our price." That was priceless, since any real technical consulting firm will describe real technical specialties such as manufacturing quality control or architectural design or radiological environmental analysis etc. rather than some vague mumblings about their ability to "think outside the box".

  5. When asked to explain why his "Institute" is apparently operating out of his parents' house, he mumbled that it was a home-based business, but he made no attempt to explain why a home-based private consulting firm would have a "Dean" (hint: "Dean" is a title normally given to department heads in universities, not to members of think tanks).

  6. Phil Skayhan of ASVS Headline News made it very clear what everyone was thinking about his "institute":

Stewart's Strategic Defense Institute

But "Stewart at SDI" proved to be remarkably obstinate. With his credibility in tatters and laughter raining down on him from every corner, Stewart stubbornly picked himself up and continued to peddle his self-aggrandizing claims.

Stewart's Crown Jewel Arguments

It is, of course, impractical to show all of his 146 forum posts (many of which were quite long) here on this page. However, you can view them on my forums for yourself, so there would be little point in doing so. Therefore, I will merely show you a few of his more bizarre arguments for your amusement:

The "Technology Level" Argument

Excerpts from the original forum thread:

"Star Trek has demonstraited the following technologies that are not seen in Star Wars, therefore, it is more advanced."

Yes, he subscribes to the notion that all you have to do is show that society A has some technology society B doesn't, therefore it must be more "advanced" across the board. Naturally, he disregards the fact that society B in this case also has some technologies that society A does not.

"Threwout history, the side with the supirior technology won irregardless of the force ratios
...
You can check this your self by using A flight sim game on your computer. I was able to kill almost 900 WW-II planes of all types in an afternoon of console time infront of witnesses and against both machine and human Air Force Pilots who made their living fliing F-15's at the time. All without a scratch on my shiny new F-86H or Mig-15.

Yes, he actually said that (and continued to insist that Trek's advantage in certain technologies would easily overwhelm the Empire's advantage in other technologies, even though the Empire's particular advantages just happened to be in the oh-so-irrelevant areas of speed, shields, and heavy weapons). I particularly enjoyed the part about his l33t computer-game skills. In any case, he continued trying to bolster his "general technology level" argument by posting the following gem:

The F-22 is so good that the Air Force thinks that they will only need 48 of them and their support systems to defeet any other air force on the planet. Thats right 48 Vs. the red air force of 20,000 planes or the British/French/German sales to the third world. "

It may be hard to believe, but that is not a misprint; he did seriously claim that just four dozen F-22s would defeat every other air force on the planet (despite the fact that the USAF initially wanted to purchase 750 of them, and considers 384 an absolute minimum in order to be effective). His bizarre claims about "general technology level" trumping every other factor were challenged again with the example of "Japan vs the USSR at its peak", and he responded thusly:

"The IJA was on the other hand was compleatly capable of defeeting the entire Red Army if they, the reds that is, chose to invade Japan. Due to political constraints, the IJA could never invade the Russians.
...
You see minor diferences in technology do mater. Sincerely, Stewart."

Yes, he seriously argued that Cold War-era Japanese ground forces could defeat the entire Soviet Army at its peak in a stand-up fight, and that the only impediment to the Japanese invading and overrunning the USSR was "political constraints"!

In order to recognize what this tells us about Stewart's ignorance, we must examine the various components of this claim. First, he refers to the Japanese GSDF (Ground Self-Defense Force) as the IJA (Imperial Japanese Army): a moniker that hasn't been used since WW2. Either Stewart honestly doesn't know this (thus casting some rather serious doubt on his knowledge of Japan's military, not to mention its culture since there are important cultural reasons why Japan insists on referring to all of its armed services as "self-defense forces"), or he believes that "the USSR at its peak" was during WW2 rather than the late 1980s (which is equally ignorant).

Now, it could be argued that the Red Army would not be able to invade at all because they never planned for such a scenario, so they never built the ships necessary to get their army into Japan in the first place. But when someone actually claims that the Japanese GSDF could actually defeat the entire Red Army instead of the battle simply not happening in the first place, he is arguing that the two forces are actually comparable!

To get an idea of how absurd this is, consider the fact that the 1976 Japanese GSDF (which was larger than the present-day GSDF) had approximately 180,000 personnel, 1,200 tanks comprising just 1 armoured division, and 1,000 artillery pieces. The Red Army, in contrast, had more than 1.5 million men in the Ground Forces alone, 140 Motorized Rifle + Tank Divisions, trained reserves of 55,000,000 former soldiers and officers, 50,000 MBTs, 30,000 AFVs (BTRs and BMPs), 9,000 self-propelled artillery pieces (some 30,000 artillery pieces in total), and 4,500 helicopters. See globalsecurity.org for more information. And of course, I'm not even considering the air force advantage, where the Soviets have some 7000 combat aircraft compared to Japan's 400 combat aircraft.

To take just one of those matchups, some 50 Soviet tank divisions against just 1 Japanese tank division is not a fair fight, and (here's the kicker) Japan's tanks were technologically inferior to boot! The Cold War-era Japanese GSDF tank forces were composed of Type 61 and Type 74 tanks. Their top-of-the-line Type 74 mounted a 1950s-era British L7 105mm rifled cannon. The Russian T-80, in contrast, mounted a 125mm smoothbore cannon, had reactive armour, frontal armour designed to withstand 120mm ammunition, and various other sophisticated combat systems, making it vastly superior to the Type 74. The point made by the Japan vs USSR comparison (which Stewart was apparently too dense to grasp) was that Japan's Cold War-era advantage in consumer electronics technology did not necessarily point to a military technological advantage, never mind an ability to actually win, hence his "general technology level" argument goes out the window.

Of course, it should be noted that the JSDF does have extensive combat experience against this individual:

Godzilla, king of all monsters

So perhaps I should not be taking them so lightly :)

The "Asteroids Did Not Vapourize" Argument

After seeing his "technology level" argument broadly ridiculed on my forums by Star Wars and Star Trek fans alike, he switched to the classic "TESB asteroids were not really vapourized" argument. His approach was a novel one: he claimed that since nuclear fireballs in the Earth's upper atmosphere glow brightly for a long time, a nuclear-level release of energy in space should also glow brightly for a long time. Excerpts from the original thread and a subsequent short debate thread:

it was plainly impossable for the "Astroid" to be "Vaporised" In the text, it states that the phenominon lasted .25-.3 seconds. If the mass quoted, about 32,000 metric tons as I recall, was heated to incandessance it would have taken many minutes to dissipate not fractions of a second. We know this fron space weapons tests of both conventional and nuclear explosives. Conventional explosives dissipate in tiny fractions of a second like those shown in the movie. While nuclear shots in the energy range cited that massed only 363 pounds ( about 165 kilos off the top of my head.) required many seconds (2-3 dozen depending) for the bomb residue to disperse enough that it was no longer visable to the naked eye. Therefore, the yeald must have been in the kilogram range or the incandesant halo would certanly been visable for much, thousands of times, longer.

Of course, one could go blind listing all of the problems in his claim that it was "impossable" for the "astroid" to be vapourized. First, a 40m wide asteroid has a volume of more than 30,000 m³, so it could only have a mass of 32,000 metric tons if it is made of ice (and I don't think you need to be told why those rocks didn't look like ice). A 30,000 m³ piece of silicate rock would be more than 80,000 tons, and a 30,000 m³ piece of nickel-iron would be roughly a quarter of a million tons. Second, the highest-altitude nuclear test was at 400km, which Stewart considers "space" but which NASA considers to be in the "upper atmosphere" (that region of atmosphere has a gas density as much as 1 million times greater than interplanetary space, the Aurora Borealis occurs there, and it's called the ionosphere, which is part of the thermosphere). According to NASA, "The thermosphere starts just above the mesosphere and extends to 600 kilometres (372 miles) high ... This layer is known as the upper atmosphere." And what was his response?

IIRC the Ionosphere reaches an altitude of 350KM

Wonderful, ain't it? Just claim that the ionosphere stops at 350km, conveniently short of the 400km altitude of his nuclear burst! But where did he get this figure? Certainly not from NASA, which says that the upper atmosphere goes to 600km. I checked, and lo and behold, when you do a Google search on "upper atmosphere", one of the first sites that comes up is a site (which is not a NASA site) that has a chart which just happens to show a chart of atmospheric layers that only goes up to ... *drum roll please* ... 350km. Yes ladies and gentlemen, it's clearly another faker who hoped that a bit of Googling would make it appear as if he has knowledge.

In any case, his "logic" (if you want to call it that) is that a nuclear blast in space must glow brilliantly for long periods of time because nuclear blasts do that in the upper atmosphere, even though the materials of a nuclear device are heated to such high temperatures that they will scatter at speeds of hundreds or even thousands of kilometres per second in the absence of atmospheric resistance, and nuclear blast physics take place on timescales measured in microseconds. He was not even swayed by the following quote from a NASA webpage which discussed the difference between atmospheric tests and the effects one should expect to see in space:

"If a nuclear weapon is exploded in a vacuum-i. e., in space-the complexion of weapon effects changes drastically:

First, in the absence of an atmosphere, blast disappears completely.

Second, thermal radiation, as usually defined, also disappears. There is no longer any air for the blast wave to heat and much higher frequency radiation is emitted from the weapon itself."

And what was his response to an authoritative statement from NASA which completely demolishes his argument?

I noticed that you failed to quote the full text and related articles for the nasa data you cite. If you had read the whole article you would note that the effects were seen for more than 2,000 miles and for a conciderable duration. In addition the refferance is from 1957 and when the origional source for the effects of nuclear weapons is consulted, it states that bomb residue is clearly visable to the eye for many seconds after a detonation in space.

Yes, boys and girls, he took the part of the page which described atmospheric tests and deliberately misinterpreted it as a rebuttal of the part of the page which described what one should expect to see in space. No doubt he thinks this was an absolutely brilliant rhetorical trick, as if people are honestly going to be fooled by it. He then goes on to produce his alternate explanation, now that he is confident he has shattered my (and NASA's) claims:

A far simpler explanation is that they were soft, pulverised and scattered by the shot. The effects seen can be explained by shock wave disrupting the surface to make it look like it was hot.

In short, his "simpler explanation" is that the asteroids were "soft" (even though metallic TIE fighters shattered on impact with them and didn't leave a mark, which would be consistent with a big hunk of iron but not with a "soft lump of talc"), and fragmented into invisible pieces in a process that only make it look like it was glowing white-hot. In his mind, that explains this sequence:

Asteroid

Asteroid heated to white-hot temps

It doesn't take a genius to see the small asteroid turning into a much larger white-hot flash, nor does it take a genius to see that this is obviously not a mere colour-change on the surface of an asteroid as it gently breaks into pieces. But here's where the fun starts: he responded with the following Technicolor view of his delusional fantasy panorama:

Since you have failed to answer my questions and ignored my expertise in this field, even after stating that your own degree was in an unrelated field, while claiming that it afforded you expert statis that is denieghed me, with a degree in "General Science" that includes hours in Physics, You have belittled my expertise in other fields, without demonstraiting that you have any knowledge what so ever in them, therefore, I am forced to consult with people who's degrees are supirior to your own. In addition, since I would never presume upon our feindships among my colegues, I am forced to go to outside sources to question Phd Physisists and Professors of Cosmotology, Astro-physics and Astronomy.

I origionaly thought to question them by E-mail but did not get a single person willing to be interviewed for an "on line" article. So I changed my tack and drove over 1,000 miles to Millwaky, Beliot, Rockford, Barrington, Chicago and four suburbs, Champainge/Urbana and the Fermi National Laboratory just 30 or 40 miles south of me.

The pitch whent like this; Hello I am Stewart Davies and I am writing an article for publication on line about the differances between science and science fiction. Whould you be willing to answer 8-10 questions over lunch that I am buying at your favorite resturant? When only five of the first twelve agreed, I started to bring a cooler with Sub-Way sandwiches, Sodas and a variety of adult beverages. I then asked if we could do lunch in thier office,if they were to buisy for a resturant, or finaly, just while we walked to were ever they were going. A total of eight Phd-plus type guys agreed to answer the questions. I first gave them prints of the film clip in it's entirety and transcripts down loaded from the debate, then told them that "exact" answers were not required, just thier best oppinions. The questions and thier answers are below. Just think, I got all this for less than $800 bucks worth of wear and tear on the car, expences and ten days of my time. What a bargain!!!

1. Given that the asteroid in question is between 20 and 40M long and 12 and 24M in diamiter, has a specific density between 1.5 and 8 and thus masses between <3,400 and >144,000 metric tons, is there any possability what so ever, that this film clip of less than .3 seconds, could be an accurate depiction of 4.18E12 to 4.18E15 Joules, equivilant to ONE KILOTON to ONE MEGATON of TNT'S worth of energy "Vaporising" said asteroid?

All eight answered NO!

2. Can you think of any known mechanism that would alow this film clip to accurately portray the above event?

Again all eight answered NO!

3. Given that all of the several asteroid blastings showed virtually identicle chains of events, all lasting less than 1/2rd of a second, Could the slow fraim rate of 24 per second have missed any significant event that could change you oppinion as stated previously?

All eight answered NO, Again!

4. If the asteroid in the question above were "vaporised" deep in "Interplanetary Space", How many seconds would you expect the resulting incandesant gas to be visable to the naked eye? Would the event happening at an equivilant Earth altitude of 200Km. cange the results above substantialy?

All eight answers ranged fron "a few seconds" to "several tens of seconds" When I pressed, the few seconds became 2-3, maby 10. No, the differance in dencity is not sufficiant to change the results significantly.

5. Given that the camera's possition is reallitivly close to the detonation, could the expanding gas that we would expect to see escape the view fraim durring the 10-12 Ms interfraim time between exposures? Or would it still be visable as it recieded into the distance?

After some discusion about the total number of fraims in the clip, all eight again agreed that it was not possable for the expanding cloud of incandesant gas to escape the camera's view into the distance.

6. Given the irregular, non-spherical shape of the gas/smoke or dust shown in fraim one and the reallitive lack of expansion of same in fraim two, Could the asteroid be compleatly "Vaporised" in fraim one?

All eight answered NO!

7. Given that the appirant volume of the cloud of smoke or gas is between >50,000M.E3 and <400,000M.E3, not counting the volume of the unvaporised asteroid inside, How much of the asteroid would have to be vaporised to make that cloud and what would the density be?

All eight answers ran like this. I'de only be guessing about the total mass, but the density would vary between at most 1 Kg/ME3 at the suface being vaporised to 1E-9 to E-12 Kg./ME3 at the visable edges of the cloud formation.

(Since I did not want to waist my precious interview time, I made these calculations later. If the average dencity is 1E-5 Kg/ME3 then the total mass of the gas in the cloud would be between .5 and 4 kilos! If my calculations are right? Furthermore, if the total suface aria of the smaller size asteroid that we are possiting is 754 million Cm^2 then the depth of vaporisation is thus much less than .01MM, while the larger size needs less than 0.1MM of it's surface vaporised to make the visable cloud seen in the film.)

8. Is there any known mechanism that could make the incandesant gas in fraims 1 and 2 change color by fraim three? What if the gas in fraims one and two were realy smoke or dust, Could secondary or terciary reactions in ordinary high explosive account for the changes as the cloud dissipates?

All eight said yes there was, but absent the expansion required to supercool the gas between fraims, as evidenced by the film, No it's not possable. Two agreed that ordinary HE does sometimes change the color of the smoke generated as the detonation progresses.

9. Given that the ~160 kilogrames of ordinary high explosive in a nominal 750 pound bomb leaves a crater +14M. accross by +2M. deep. Could a simmilar yeald of less than 1,000 kilos of HE compleatly shatter a typical asteroid as we know them, in a manner consistant with that portaid in the film clip shown?

Six did not know, but one said certainly and the last said it probably would not take 100 kilos to get the results seen in the film, even for the largest asteroid possited. He also recomended that I get a copy of "The Blaster's Handbook" published by "E. I. Du Pont D. Namours" to find the required amount and type of explosive to shatter the loose agregate rock that is typical of most asteroids.

10. If you were a contestant in a science quiz show and had to choose one answer below for a million dollar prize, between the two compeeting theories below and highlighted in the text of the down load. Which would you choose?

A. An invisable beam "vaporises" the asteroid in fraim one. There is less than 50% expansion of the resulting gas in fraim two as some bright bolt of "plasma" impacts the incandesant cloud. It expands beyond the bounds of the camera's fraim before fraim three and then leaves a residual smoke cloud of a different color. In fraim four, it shrinks and changes color, getting darker and dimmer. It fades from view completely by fraim eight.

Or.

B. Either an invisable beam or a missile of some kind impacts between fraim 0 and fraim one, and dislodges dust from the surface visable in fraim one. The plasma bolt or missile impacts in fraim two, generating very little aditional expansion of the original cloud of smoke or dust as it detonates. The asteroid shatters in fraim three, leaving behind a cloud of dust and smoke. Larger pieces are not visable either due to poor lighting preventing adiquate exposure of the fast moving fragments or insufficiant resolution of the camera system. The cloud expands slowly over the next three or four fraims and faids from view by fraim eight.

All eight chose answer B!

One Professor reminded me that the missile could have been rocket powered as much of the exhaust is not visable in several types of rocket untill secondary and even terciary reactions take place. The exhaust is visable in fraim one but the missile could have been in the target already.

A second pointed out that if the asteroid was being tracked by a sufficiantly powerfull missile guidance illumination radar, that radar beam could have "micro-waved" the surface of the body enough to cause what little gas we see in fraims one and two to "vaporise". He also pointed out that radar energy flows over the surface of any target untill it is absorbed or hits a discontinuety to be re-radiated. It could therefore burn off mattierial from every side of the body in question.

In addition, if the radar transmision was a "half wave signal of only positive or negitive parts of the wave that a much lower power level could cause the build up of "static" electricity that would cause the dust to jump from the surface and repell it self from every other particle giving the appearance of a smoth surface. He could not think how that half wave transmitter might work but it is more likely than the vaporisation theory "A" above.

There you have it, eight Phd. Proffessors who agree with me and find your explanation untenable. Because they asked me not to publish thier names and or organisations for a variety of reasons not the least of wich was your rude and beligerant behaviour, embarasment at being associated with such trivial persuites and thier buisy schedules, therefore, I am with holding thier names, Etc. I also know you will avoid the points above and asail me for withholding the names, with some crap like I made it all up or some other specious argument, but I don't care, I can proove my sources. Can you find anyone at all with a Phd in physics who will agree with you?

To asail this data you must find equivilant Phd.s that dispute the above findings for the ten questions and ARE WILLING TO PUBLISH THIER NAMES AND INSTITUTIONS FOR PEER REVIEW! At least three of the people that I interviewed will then be willing to enter into a private online debate with your experts and then post an agreed statement.

How many of the posters on this board are willing to put up $100 U.S.D. on which answer, A or B above, that the most Physics Phd's choose? I am! We all know what they say about walk'n and talk'n, are you walk'n or are you $TALK'N$?

Remarkable, isn't it? I hit him with a quote from NASA, and after a shamelessly transparent evasion attempt, he responds by claiming that he spent eight hundred dollars to drive around on a ten day road trip ("What a bargain!!!") in order to bribe eight anonymous "Phd-plus type guys" with submarine sandwiches and "adult drinks" in order to bolster his argument. Frankly, if you aren't rolling around laughing at this clown's obvious lies by now, you haven't been paying attention. And let's not even talk about his pitiful claims of a "general science" degree (such degrees are usually given out by either low-grade tech schools or art faculties, since real scientists specialize into physics, chemistry, biology, etc) and his "hours in Physics" (compared to my years in it); he clearly has no idea what kind of education is normally required for a typical professional.

Better yet, his new explanation for the white-hot glow (supposedly quoted from one of his "Phd-plus type guys", although if you believe that, I have some swampland in Florida to sell you) is that the Star Destroyer's targeting radar might have been so powerful that it heated the surface until it glowed, without pausing to wonder how absurd this new theory is in light of his claim that the Star Destroyer's weaponry is not powerful enough to heat the asteroid until it glows. "Bizarre" doesn't begin to describe it.

And then, in a final crowning glory of insanity, he tells me that he is "withholding" the names and organizations of his mystery "PhD-plus type" authorities even though he expects me to take their word as final (of course, he says he's only withholding their names because they're afraid of me, but they're apparently not afraid of a weirdo who responded to an E-mail rebuff by driving to their universities to bother them in person), and then he says that if I try to produce any countervailing authority, that authority must be willing to publish his name and institutions for peer review or he won't count! Can you say "hypocrisy?" I knew you could. Better yet, I did produce such a person (Dr. Curtis Saxton, who holds a PhD in astrophysics and who wrote the infamous Star Wars Technical Commentaries website as well as the SW2ICS book which estimates light turbolasers in the megaton range). Stewart's response was to simply lie and flatly deny that Dr. Saxton supports megaton-range turbolasers even though anyone can read his site or buy a copy of the SW2ICS book to see that he does (I can't imagine why someone would be stupid enough to lie about something which can be so easily checked, but Stewart is clearly not the tactician he thinks he is). Also note that in the same post where he lied about Saxton agreeing with him, he made the astounding claim that en electron density chart of the ionosphere overestimates density (note: for those who don't know, the free electron density is an indicator of ionization levels, which are not 100% and which therefore invariably lead to a low figure for density, not a high one).

In any case, his final flourish in this post was to pretend that he was willing to put the question to a bet (complete with punk-ass trash talk, thus making it even more obvious that he's probably a kid using his daddy's identity), although I can't imagine why anyone would expect him to pay up after his obvious lies about his own past and activities. Never mind the fact that the bet would be settled by the anonymous opinions of his own imaginary PhDs whose identities would remain secret (the better for him to make up their responses for them)! I can confidently say that in all of my time debating people, I have never encountered such a blustering pathological liar.

But Stewart, despite his obvious delusional state, knew how devastating the picture of the white-hot glowing asteroid was to his case. I repeatedly splashed a picture of it on the forums just to embarrass him, other forum users commenting on the debate were virtually pointing and laughing at him, and his bizarre attempt to rationalize it with targeting radar was a non-starter, so he opted for an even more bizarre argument:

the appearant change in brightness could be a function of AGC/auto exposure or image manipulation in the viewing/recording device.

That's right; even though the Star Destroyer in the background is at exactly the same brightness as it was in the preceding frame, he concludes that the camera made the asteroid look like a white-hot flash (which was also mysteriously much larger than the asteroid, but by now he's got so many lies piled up around his argument that he can't see over them to notice details like that). By way of proof, he (eventually) provided the following pictures:

Baseball

Blurry over-exposed baseball

"What the hell are those pictures supposed to prove," you ask? Good question. Apparently, if a white baseball in frame 1 looks kind of blurry and slightly whiter when it's obviously overexposed in frame 2, then a dark rock can suddenly look like a white-hot flash in the next frame even though the exposure is clearly identical as demonstrated by other objects in the frame.

The "Death Star didn't destroy Alderaan" Argument

Occasionally, you run into someone who is so completely out to lunch that you have to seriously ask yourself: is he deliberately lying, or is he insane?" Stewart Davies is one of those people. After being virtually laughed out of the forums for his ridiculous asteroid argument, he quietly slunk out of the threads discussing that debate and switched to his Death Star argument, where he claims that the Death Star did not destroy Alderaan! Of course, you might be tempted to point out that this is absurd because we all saw it blow up, but that, you see, just isn't enough evidence for our friend Stewart. And Han Solo showed up in what should have been Alderaan's orbit and saw nothing ahead of him but debris and blackness, but that too is not enough for Stewart to accept what happened. The following are excerpts from a thread he started for this claim. Let us watch him as he spirals into his own private hell:

This assumption that the fragments are moving at any apreaciatable fraction of the speed of light is clearly in opposition to the event protraid in the movie. For all we know the fragments might not even have "escape velocity"! Thus the calculations of the energy required are plainly flawed.

Wow, can you believe this guy? He obviously doesn't realize how large a planet is (not surprising, since you can tell that all of his claims are based on the behaviour of small-scale explosives at ground level such as grenades and demolition charges). At 2% of c, an Earth-like planet would expand to twice its diameter in 1 second, but if it does not achieve escape velocity, it would take nearly ten minutes. With that in mind, anyone can view the explosion of Alderaan (click here for the SE version and here for the Classic version) to see how absurd his claim is. Also notice how he calls it an "assumption" to say that the planet blew up quickly, rather than an observation. Is it really so much to ask that these people accept something as obvious as Alderaan blowing up without a fight? How many normal people would watch Star Wars and say "hmmmm, it looks to me like most of Alderaan was intact, and only a little bit flew off the surface"? Honestly, people who seriously claim that Alderaan didn't blow up are merely proving that they're stark raving fanatics.

At this point, he tried to use numbers in support of his argument, thus inadvertently demonstrating that he has no math skills:

Carefull fraim by fraim measurements of the speed of the fastest fragments moving perpendicular to the line of sight indicates a velosity of only 1.385 planetary diamiters per second. That a later book claims a vastly diferent figure, one and a half orders of magnatude higher, brings us to the dilemma. If the fastest fragments are traveling less than 12,000 Km/S and the slowest are going one onehundredth of that speed, what is the total energy? Clearly it is not any were neer what is claimed elsewere on this site.

Interesting. So he estimates the maximum velocity at "only" 1.385 planetary diameters per second (which works out to roughly 17500km/s, or roughly 5.8% of the speed of light). He then figures that it works out to 12000 km/s, even though the Earth's diameter is 12750km (math is obviously not his strong suit). If we accept his bad math and use the 12000km/s figure with an even velocity distribution, the average particle velocity would be roughly 6000 km/s. It doesn't take a genius to plug this into the simple kinetic energy formula KE=½mv² along with the mass of an Earthlike planet to determine that the result works out to 1E38 J ... which is exactly the same as my figure! So how is it "not any where neer" my figure? I refer you back to my earlier derisive comment about Stewart's atrocious math skills; I'm starting to wonder if this guy is even capable of counting his fingers and toes.

In fact, if we use his 1.385 planetary diameter figure properly (ie- multiply 12750km by 1.385 to get roughly 17500 km/s), we end up with 2.3E38 J, which is more than twice as large as my figure! And does anyone know what he's talking about when he says that "a later book claims a vastly different figure" for velocity which is 1.5 orders of magnitude (ie- 50 times) higher? That would make it several times the speed of light! Has this guy ever even seen a math textbook?

Let's look at how he responded to the fact that his comments about speed were obviously nonsense:

1.385 planetary diameters per second is more than 17000 km/s, which is more than 5% of c, fool. Can't you operate a fucking calculator?

5% is significant? Some here have said 50%C for the fragments.

Don't you love the way he simply refuses to admit defeat? When the falsehood of his claim is pointed out to him, he simply mumbles that 5% of c is not a significant percentage (apparently, anything less than 50% is insignificant now), and he tries to vaguely pretend that he was responding to someone who claimed 50%. Of course, he doesn't name this person, and even if such a person did exist, he would be irrelevant to me or my website, but what's another lie from a guy who tried to sell us on a 10-day $800 Star Wars fact-finding road trip? Now watch what he does next: he tries to perform a simple high school-level kinetic energy calculation:

17,000,000x17,000,000/2000=1.45^11x6.21^21=~9.0^32

That is five to seven orders of magnatude differance that the numbers being mentioned on this site.

Awww, isn't it cute watching him trying to do math? It's like watching a baby take his first hesitant steps. Of course, he got everything completely wrong, but that should come as no surprise.

So how did he go wrong? First and foremost, he demonstrates remarkable ignorance of mathematics by expressing 1.45E11 as 1.45^11, which is a totally different number. For those of you who don't know basic math, 1.45^11 is just 59.6, whereas 1.45E11 is 145 billion; this is no small error. But it gets worse than that. You see, his equation for kinetic energy is completely wrong. We know that according to his own figures, v=17000km/s (17E6 m/s), and the mass of the Earth is 6E21 tons (6E24 kg). So, by examining his numbers (notice how he uses the Earth's mass in tons rather than kilograms, even though you're supposed to use kilograms), we can see what formula he must be using:

Stewart's KE formula


v²/2000 = v²/2000 * m/1000 = KE

Correct KE formula


KE = ½mv²

Not pretty, is it? First and foremost, his equation is a complete mess and a horrible butchery of mathematics; he does not write it in anything resembling proper equation format, and in fact, the equation as written is literally wrong because the three equated elements are not equal. But if we disregard his obvious mistakes and rearrange his equation into proper format, we get:

Stewart's KE formula


KE = ½mv²/1E6

Yes indeed, boys and girls; once you rearrange his formula and plug in the numbers, you can see that he divided the figure by 1 million, without stating any reason to do so (or even admitting that he had done so; his little "tons instead of kg" trick smells like deliberate deception to me). So, the end result is that he effectively divides the KE formula by 1 million, and then he triumphantly crows that his result is ... a million times smaller than mine! Can you believe this guy?

In any case, most of my forum users simply ignored his laughable attempt at math and one of them (Durandal) attacked his claims about Alderaan largely failing to achieve escape velocity thusly:

If a significant portion of the planet's mass was moving that slowly, we'd have observed a large concentration of mass remaining after the explosion. Since the entire space taken up by the planet was cleared, we can safely conclude that you're wrong.

Stewart responded thusly:

Wrong Explosions do not work like that. When anything explodes, the space were it used to be gets empty very quickly. After 50% expansion of the radius, 89% of all the mass is beyond the origional sphere of the planet. By the time that the expansion reaches 100% beyond the origional surface, only about 1.2% remains in that origional volume. The more it expands, the less is left behind. After expanding several diamiters there would be almost nothing left behind.

I know what you're thinking: "was that a rebuttal?" Indeed, it was not. Durandal pointed out that Han Solo saw empty space when he appeared in what should have been Alderaan's orbit, and Stewart retorted that no, after a huge explosion there should be ... empty space. It makes you scratch your head, doesn't it? Does he think he refuted anything? Is he arguing that we should see a big empty hole onscreen during the explosion itself, as if all the material expands in the two-dimensional plane of the screen? Either way, this rebuttal simply makes no sense.

The only way out of this dilemma, is for a significant portion of the planet not to have escape velocity and thus be falling back into it's origional volume.

I leave you, the readers, to fill in your own rebuttal. Hint: you can start by simply looking at the explosion and remembering that if you accept his figure of <11km/s for the bulk of the planet, the ~4 second clip of Alderaan's explosion would show less than 44km expansion, or 0.0035 planetary diameters (such a small value that it wouldn't even be noticeable onscreen at all). This is something people need to recognize about the size and scale of a planet: when the whole planet takes up only a corner of the screen, any appreciable motion at all in 4 seconds requires velocity in excess of escape velocity. With that in mind, look at the following picture:

Alderaan's explosion

It's enough to make you seriously wonder about his mental stability, isn't it? That's what it looks like when most of the planet has been displaced by less than one pixel onscreen? Let's overlay Alderaan from the beginning of the sequence to see what it would look like if most of the planet hadn't moved by even one pixel:

Alderaan's explosion with an intact Alderaan superimposed on top

Oops, that's quite a bit different, isn't it? So what does he hope to accomplish with lies that are so easily checked against fact, claims that are so effortlessly disproven by screenshots from the movie, and calculations that are so obviously bogus? Is he trying to make himself look foolish? One can only wonder. In any case, after proposing a velocity figure which actually generates a higher energy estimate than my 1E38 joule figure (once you do the math properly), he declared his campaign a success for some reason and proudly moved onto his next campaign: proving that Alderaan was actually a giant nuclear bomb.

The "Alderaan was a huge nuclear bomb" Argument

Yes, it's the return of one of the oldest (and dumbest) arguments in the book:

It is my theory that the DS some how caused the core of the planet to fision, just like a nuclear bomb.

All you can do at this point is groan in disgust, and wait for his inevitable self-aggrandizing claims that in addition to his big salary, big muscles, superhuman reflexes, world-class marksmanship, and military expertise, he's also a nuclear physics expert.

The problems with this argument are legion, starting with the fact that the core of a typical planet is mostly iron rather than uranium and then going on to encompass the fact that even if the core was entirely made of uranium and it achieved 100% fission for some fantastic reason, it would produce only an infinitesimal fraction of the 2E38 J necessitated by his own velocity estimate! So what does he do? The following are a series of excerpts from the original thread:

A ball 80klicks OD would mass about ~5^18 kilos at surface dencity more at core pressures. That amount of fisile mass times 20,000 tons of TNT equivilant each equals 4.5^32 Joules. Unless I've screwed up the math in my head some place.

I have read at least two articles that claim that there must be a ball of Urainium/Plutonium in the center of the Earth to explain the heat and magnetic field for so many billions of years.

Yet again, we must laugh at Stewart's latest claim of expertise in yet another field; despite his pretensions of nuclear weapons expertise, he clearly does not realize that a ball of U238 would not be considered a "fissile mass". U235 is fissile, but U238 makes up almost all naturally occurring uranium (which is why enriched uranium is such a difficult substance to get ahold of), and U238 is what nuclear physicists refer to as "fissionable", not "fissile". This means that while it can undergo exothermal fission, it is impossible to create a critical mass (this is because of a high threshold energy). Worse yet, when people looked up his articles about this uranium "ball", they discovered that the theory (which is fringe-science at best, since it is not required by any physical evidence) actually called for a 5km wide "liquid drop", so he had exaggerated its volume by thousands of times!

Let's look at his response when I pointed out that there is no "fissile mass" at the Earth's core, since naturally occurring uranium is almost all fissionable U238, not fissile U235:

How fucking stupid can you be? Don't you realize that most uranium is useless for that purpose, which is why uranium in which the fissile isotope has been removed is called DEPLETED uranium and considered garbage?

You have just proven your ignorance beyond all shadow of a dought!

Several isotopes of Thorium and U-238 (Depleated Urainium.) all fission when struck by fast nutrons like those generated in D-D and D-T reactions in thermonuclear weapons. That is why all larger Thermonuclear weapons get 50% or more from the Depleated Urainium sleeve that is placed around the thermonuclear "Secondary". At least one isotope of Thorium, U-233, U-235 and all the isotopes of plutonium that I can remember will all fission when struck by so-called slow "thermal" nutrons which is why they are used to make small Fission bombs. It is easy to get slow nutrons but hard to make fast ones.

I recomend that you read Richard Rhodes's THE MAKING OF THE ATOMIC BOMB and DARK SUN. They are probably the best un-clasified works on the subject and after you have read them you will not be so ignorant on the subject.

Nice dodge, eh? He simply ignores his "fissile mass" mistake, and acts as though I should have known he was talking about fast-fission in U238 even though it's not fissile and is horribly inefficient (more on that later). Then, while attempting to demonstrate his superior knowledge of nuclear weapons he inadvertently displays his ignorance of that very subject with two huge mistakes:

  1. In an attempt to bolster his credibility and claim expertise, he cites Richard Rhodes' two books as references on nuclear weapon design. One small problem: look up Library Journal's description: "Heavily biographical, the book provides portraits of the many players from Szilard and Einstein to Oppenheimer. Rhodes includes detailed explanations of the various scientific discoveries beginning in the late 19th century which culminated in the Manhattan Project." In other words, he clearly acquired his "expertise" in nuclear weapons from a general-audience history book. Any scientific information contained in the book is purely of the "trivia" variety, and is certainly not going to be any better than what you can find in easily referenced online resources such as the Nuclear Weapons FAQ. So why bother mentioning it? As always with him, it's about trying to look like a bigshot.

  2. He misinterprets the fission yield of the tamper in a thermonuclear secondary (a thermonuclear device uses a fission "primary" to create the ignition conditions for a fusion "secondary" which is surrounded by a tamper) as proof that U238 will readily undergo 100% fast-fission when subjected to a high neutron flux. However, the reality is that U238 is horribly inefficient in fast fission. In fact, examination of fallout from the original "Ivy Mike" thermonuclear test revealed that a staggering 93% of the U238 tamper did not undergo fission, despite the enormous neutron flux generated by the fusion reaction! That is why they actually use enriched (albeit sub-weapons grade) uranium for thermonuclear secondary-stage tampers: enriched uranium produces vastly more fission in the secondary stage than depleted uranium.

I suppose his argument might work better if his hypothetical 80km wide uranium sphere happens to be made of enriched uranium, and is subjected to the same neutron flux which is present inside a thermonuclear weapon, but that's no answer.

The Ultimatum

At this point, Stewart decided to switch to full "troll" mode. I responded to his nonsensical fast-fission argument by posting the following:

I am waiting for your mathematical calculations to demonstrate the feasibility of your theory, particularly with regard to the generation of neutron flux similar to that found inside a thermonuclear warhead throughout an entire 80km wide sphere of uranium as well as an 80km wide column of matter leading all the way up to the surface of the planet.

Until then, you have not shown that it can explain the effects seen. Why don't you put your "strategic defense institute" skills to work on this, Stewart? Surely, if you were willing to waste $800 driving around asking mysterious nameless professors for testimony, you can apply some of your much-vaunted nuclear weapons expertise to this simple question, can you not? Or will you be man enough to admit that you've been full of shit since Day One?

His response? He simply ignored this post completely. In fact, if you look at the original thread, you can see that he started giving me the "silent treatment", ie- he would respond to posts made by other people, but not to posts made by me. I responded to this childish behaviour by simply posting "WHERE ARE THOSE CALCULATIONS, STEWART?" repeatedly, but he continued to ignore me.

That's when I finally got fed up. It's bad enough that he's obvious ignorant of subjects in which he claims expertise, but to pointedly ignore my posts while responding to other peoples' posts on my own forum was ridiculous. I gave him an ultimatum: answer my demand for "calculations to demonstrate the feasibility of your theory" within 24 hours or I'd kick him off the board. I even made a special ultimatum thread, just to make it clear. Naturally, he continued to ignore me, and ignored the entire ultimatum thread, so I booted him off. His response? He ran to other boards to whine that he was treated unfairly:

he banned me because he did not understand my ideas and calcs.

Spin-doctoring is a lovely thing, isn't it? Does it even occur to him that according to his theory (in which a solid mass of U238 can be induced to undergo 100% fast-fission by hitting it with a neutron beam), the US military should stop using enriched uranium for its nuclear weapons program? I guess he'd better run off to the Pentagon to explain to them that they've been wasting their money all these years.

His attempt to provide "calculations and credentials"

After being kicked off my forum, he suddenly started whining and acting as though it was unreasonable of me to boot him off even though he was ignoring my posts. He then tried to prove he had scientific credentials by sending scans of his military discharge papers and Purple Heart to Phil Skayhan (click here for that thread), as if military credentials somehow give him scientific credibility (and assuming that it's not just some kid scanning his father's stuff, of course). And in an ostensible attempt to satisfy my demand for fast-fission feasibility calculations, he sent calculations (again, not to me but to another forum member, named "Straha") of how much energy such a reaction would generate if we assume that it takes place (click here for that thread).

At this point, it's tempting to ask whether he was honestly stupid enough to think that you could prove the feasibility of a reaction by simply assuming it will take place, and whether he was honestly stupid enough to think that he had somehow justified his claims of scientific expertise with a scan of a purple heart certificate (and I still think it might have been his father's certificate; I have trouble picturing this guy as an adult). But by this time, I was losing the ability to care. He stopped being entertaining when he stopped directly answering my posts (you can tell someone is no longer interested in debate when he stops talking to you and tries to talk to everybody else about you instead). I'm told that his latest gambit is to run around claiming that I'm refusing to put his so-called "evidence" on my site, even though (as you can see from the above links), the people who received his information posted it on the forums immediately.

Stewart's Last Gasp

Stewart made one last attempt to "win" the argument by quoting pieces of his general-audience books. It's filled with the usual tiresome self-aggrandizing nonsense, some revisitation of earlier arguments (like his ridiculous white baseball pictures) and refusal to justify his feasibility claims:


Sorry I have not responded sooner.

Not only are the reactions possable, they are inevitable under the conditions as I had outlined them. If you knew how nuclear weapons worked or how any atom heavier than Hydrogen is fissioned by fast nutrons, you would not dispute this. I recomend you read any of the better books on the subject. But since I have allready done that and you have allready chosen not to, you will continue in ignorance.(Start on page 479 of Richard Rhodes book, Dark Sun.)

Yet again, you fail to provide a single calculation to back up your claim. Nothing but your laughable unverifiable claims of superior expertise. Here's a hint, Stewart: real experts can DEMONSTRATE their expertise by showing how they derived their conclusions, rather than making vague reference to expertise and then expecting people not to question them any more.

In modern thermonuclear weapons, Lithium Duteride is used as the secondary fuel. The Lithium^6/7 is fissioned by fast nutrons. The by products are Dutirium and Trintium. They combine to form Helium and release 2-3 fast nutrons from each fusion. Those fast nutrons are then used to fission the U-238 Depleeted Urainium sleve that surrounds and tamps the fusion secondary. That sleve of "non-fisile" "depleeted" Urainium typicaly accounts for more than 50% of the total yeald. It is the main reason that Thermonuclear weapons are so cost efficiant and why my theory is so neet.

And this supports your contention of 100% neutron capture in a massive sphere of uranium ... how? WHERE ARE THOSE CALCULATIONS, STEWART?

If you had read my origional posts, you would not have asked for details on nutron scatter or mean free path and how was I to get the nutrons threw the 6,000 kilometers between the surface and core. I origionaly sugested that the Laser might bore a hole, but now I think that other technologies might work better, in light of the poor focus and dispersion shown in the movie.

In other words, you have no idea how it could be done, never mind the necessity for relativistic evacuation of a column of matter to get it out of the way or the fact that this STILL won't saturate the entire sphere with neutron radiation since the sphere will PROMPTLY ABLATE AT THE CONTACT FACE, moron.

My challenge to you is how many ways can you think of to use previously demonstraited techniques to make a hole threw the 6,000 kilometers you mentioned.

Let me get this straight: you cannot explain your bullshit mechanism so you want ME to make it work for you? That's the funniest thing I ever heard.

As to saturation, it is not required. In the calcs I sent I assumed ten times more nutron mass than I needed for 100% saturation and then used 50% for the effective ratio. I think that 20/1 is a reasonable safety cussion.

Yet AGAIN, you spout numbers WITHOUT giving me the calculations I demanded, to show they can be derived from scientific principles. 100% neutron capture is not just a matter of neutron MASS, you imbecile. It is a matter of reaction cross-sections. Matter is mostly empty space, and you can't just throw the right NUMBER of neutrons at a certain number of atoms and expect to get 100% neutron capture!

The equasions that I sent are the proof that my theory works, you may ignore them or not. You can ask for endless addendems and detail minutia, but that will not change the facts that you are obviously ignorant of the Physics and reactions involved or you would acknowledge it's viability.

More pathetic posturing on your part. The equations you sent ASSUMED that the reaction would occur; they made no attempt to justify this assumption, and it is increasingly clear that despite your laughable claims of superior expertise which no one believes, you have ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA what the difference is between the OUTPUT of a reaction and the FEASIBILITY of that reaction. Your idea of proving the feasibility of a reaction is to say that it would generate enough energy IF you simply ASSUME that it will take place!

I never claimed that the entire planet would over come the gravitational binding figure. It is plain to anyone who knows anything at all about munitions that the explosion shown in the films only accellerates a tiny fraction of the planet to those speeds! (Maby 1/10,000,000 of the total?)

Yet again, you use your claims of superior expertise in order to rhetorically bolster an utterly absurd claim that is easily disproven by simple observation. If 99.99999% of the planet's mass did not achieve escape velocity, the planet would not have blown up.

To get a better ideaof the accellerated mass, import the photos of the first and last fraim of explosion film into some visual processing program and then count the pixels across the planet, the distance in pixels the leading fragment travels in how many fraims and the diamiter in pixels of the fragment and then construct the angle between ajaisent fragments in the plain normal to the angle of view. Some simple math will show that only a very tiny portion of the planet is accellerated to those speeds and that the vast majority is not accellerated out of the cloud of smoke. I made that assumption in my head after watching hundereds of munitions tests on streek camera films. If the entire mass of the planet had been accellerated it would have looked like a ballon expanding, IE like a 4,000 pound bomb streching it's case, untill it tears into fine powder, not like a handgrenade spewing fragments.

You're actually assuming that the visible effects of a grenade explosion will scale LINEARLY to astronomical scales despite the non-linear relationship of volume and surface area? Unbelievable.

All you're doing is proving that your entire argument is based upon a laughable attempt to translate knowledge of small-scale guns and explosives DIRECTLY to ASTRONOMICAL scales without any real scientific comprehension of the underlying physics, based solely on subjective impressions and intuitive assumptions..

The white ball was photographed with exactly the same light in both fraims. No flash was used. The camera was on a tripod and no exposure adjustments were made between fraims. In one pic the ball was far off center and in the middle on the other. If you had not banned me I would have been able to explain it and all would have seen the realivance. The realivance is that the ball can look like an incandesant gas under circumstances very similar to the asteroid shot.

Small problem: the ball does NOT look remotely like an incandescent gas, nor does it look like the TESB asteroid flash, and the lighting is far stronger than the lighting in the TESB scene, AND you are cheating by deliberately overexposing the shot, which is made obvious by the blurring. Contrast this to the TESB shot, in which the turbolaser bolt doesn't even blur.

If you reenstate me I will explain exactly how I did it, so that others may duplicate my proof for independant verification. Is not that what the scientific methode is all about.

You have no "proof", moron. And for the umpteenth time, WHERE ARE THOSE CALCULATIONS, STEWART? How fucking dense are you? I gave you plenty of warning, and you ignored it. Get it yet? You were banned for IGNORING MY ULTIMATUM, and REFUSING TO BACK UP YOUR CLAIMS, moron.

And what is your response? More of your pathetic "I don't have to present calculations because I'm an expert" bullshit and "one calculation is pretty much as good as another, so I can present outcome calculations in lieu of feasibility calculations". Do you honestly think this will fool anyone?

The jig is up, Stewart. You obviously have no real knowledge of nuclear physics whatsoever; all you have is some footage of bombs going off and some reference texts on nuclear weapons which anyone could pick up at a library or a Google search. Every time you have been challenged to demonstrate your expertise by applying the physics principles you claim to know, you simply quote more material from these texts in a desperate attempt to make yourself look knowledgeable. You don't even understand what I asked for in my last E-mail, never mind how to provide it, do you?

Stewart.
P.S. One of the Phd's that I contacted was going to write to you. Please post it when you get it!

Oh puh-lease, not your imaginary anonymous PhDs and that ridiculous $800 Star Wars fact-finding road trip story again. Do you really think that little shtick will fool anyone?


Is this really him, or is it his daddy? Is there any way to know? Should we even care? Which would be more pathetic?
None of you can perceive my brilliance

He never responded (nor did any of his imaginary "PhD-plus types" despite his assurances that they would contact me), but I'm told that he's moved on to greener pastures, such as other forums where people don't yet realize what he is. He has, of course, become steadily more trollish. For example, this is one of his recent posts on another forum:

So far, no one has counted the fragments or computed thier speed on this site. Untill that happens, none of you can percieve my brilliance. You will all just go on in ignorance as before, beliving the mistakes of others.

Yup, I'd say he's gone off the deep end (and yes, the picture to the right is indeed a picture, supposedly of himself, that he sent Phil Skayhan, although I added the caption from his own words). At one point he tried arguing that all technology is limited to 99% efficiency, therefore the Death Star should have fried itself with its own waste heat (never mind that by his own argument, a Federation warp core should fry itself too, not to mention the people standing just a few feet away). More examples of his bizarre behaviour are listed here, but two of my favourites are:

I think that you should prove that it will not work or we could assume that it will!
and from here:
Go on line and find a copy of STAR FLEET BATTLES CAPTAINS LOGs 8 AND 9. One of them has my name winning my "RATED ACE" Classification. Public proof that I have some skill at the NATIONAL LEVEL in space war gamming. Can you cite any such proof?

Starfleet Battles? My God, this is the second time that this lunatic has cited his skills in a computer game as credentials! You should feel lucky. It's not often that you can witness such insanity.

Exploring Stewart's Insane Theory

Just for fun, why don't we apply some real physics data to see how much energy it would take to make Stewart's wet dream come true? Well, his 5.1E18kg sphere of U238 would be roughly 1.3E43 atoms, based on an atomic mass of (obviously) 238u. Assuming you have 1 neutron perfectly aimed at each atom with zero interference, a perfect hit rate, and 100% fission (all ludicrously generous assumptions), you would therefore need 1.3E43 neutrons, each with 2MeV (3.2E-13 J) of energy (this is a so-called "fast neutron", since it is impossible to make U238 fission with slow neutrons). Do the math, and we're talking about 4E30 joules! In other words, even if you violate the laws of physics in three separate ways just to make things easier, you still need nearly 2% of the planet's gravitational binding energy in order to create this beam of neutrons! Can you see how bad this is going to get once we start removing those wildly unrealistic assumptions?

"Ah", one might object, "but in my Google searches I discovered that a U238 fission produces an average of 2½ fast neutrons of its own, so you don't need all those neutrons!" Well, it's true that U238 fission produces fast neutrons, but ... they're not perfectly aimed at other nuclei, are they? This brings us to our next subject: reaction cross-sections. The reaction cross-section is basically a way of determining how likely a given reaction is, and there are two types of cross-sections we are concerned with: neutron-scattering cross-section and fast-fission cross-section. Now, I'll be the first to admit that quantum mechanics is not my specialty, and neutron-nucleus interactions are governed by quantum-mechanics rather than classical physics (while it is tempting to view the particles as little billiard balls hitting each other, it doesn't actually work that way, and the likelihood of a reaction has to do with its oscillation wavelength, quantum-mechanical resonances, etc). But if you look at the tabulated reaction cross-sections for fission vs scattering with 2MeV fission-product neutrons (7.4 barns vs 0.3 barns if I'm reading the tables in the Nuclear Weapons FAQ properly), it would appear that any given neutron is 24 times more likely to scatter than cause fission, assuming it interacts at all.

Oops, it looks like we're not going to solve our problem with neutron generation, are we? Even if we stick with our "all neutrons interact" assumption, we would find that for every 25 neutrons, 24 will scatter (thus losing too much energy to cause fast-fission) and you would only get 2.5 fast neutrons back from the lone neutron that causes a fission event, so you need to put in 22.5 neutrons for each fission event. Oops, now our neutron beam energy requirement goes up 22.5 times, from 4E30 joules to 9E31 joules! That's already more than a third of the planet's gravitational binding energy, and we're only scratched the surface. Onto the next problem: mean free path.

Up till now, we have granted Stewart two rather huge assumptions: 100% interaction and zero obstructed nuclei, ie- there is a clear "line of sight" to every single uranium atom's nucleus in this entire 80km wide sphere. Would it be reasonable to assume that you don't need your own physics background to see why this is an unreasonable assumption? In reality, the mean free path for fission-spectrum neutrons in uranium is measured in centimetres! 2.66 cm for fission-spectrum neutrons, according to the Nuclear Weapons FAQ. And we're supposed to push it through 80 kilometres of solid uranium? And what will happen when we try to do this? Well, that brings us to another obvious problem: as long as we're talking about mean free path, how is this neutron beam supposed to reach the core in the first place, with more than six thousand kilometres of rock and iron above it?

Realistically speaking, a huge neutron beam would have to blast away a 6000km deep, 80km wide column in order to expose the core prior to neutron saturation, which leads to the next problem: the minimum energy requirement for clearing out a 6000km deep, 80km wide column through the planet's bulk. The timeframe is 5 frames onscreen (0.2 seconds at 24fps), so we need to vapourize a column of approximately 30 million cubic kilometres (1.8E20 kg if we conservatively assume 6000 kg/m³) and then evacuate it, which means we must either push apart the entire facing hemisphere or evacuate the column out the top. In order to evacuate the column out the top, we would need to accelerate it upwards against gravity at 3E8 m/s² or more, with exit velocities of 6E7 m/s. Simple kinetic energy calculations (disregarding gravity and vapourization) lead to the conclusion that you would need 3.2E35 joules in order to accomplish this feat! But this doesn't even matter, because the intense neutron beam will heat up anything it hits to such a high degree that it will produce an opaque plasma layer that scatters any subsequent neutrons and heats/disperses the material behind it (this is why there's no point making a really thick tamper on a nuclear weapon).

Do I really need to go on? There's also the confinement-time issue (which is a huge factor in the design of real fission-based nuclear weapons), but I suspect I will be accused of "running up the score", and not without some justification. Frankly, the fact that the incredible neutron flux in a real thermonuclear device produced only 7% fission in a U238 tamper should have already been enough, but sometimes I just enjoy pointing out just how tragically, totally wrong someone is.

Actually, I was hoping Stewart would eventually try to do some of the necessary calculations himself (thus inevitably getting them horribly wrong and giving me another opportunity to make fun of him), but alas, he could not (for the painfully obvious reason that it was far beyond his mental capacity, despite his claims to the contrary), so I had to do it for him. Instead of performing real calculations, he simply mumbled a bunch of numbers out of thin air (from one of the links listed earlier on this page):

The energy required to supply the origional nutron flux, sufficiant to fission the entire core, could be miniscuel in compairison, say 2^18J to 4.5^19J. ( A 20-1 ratio of nutron energy depending on whos book you read.One metric ton of nutrons accellerated to fast nutron energies instead of the socalled slow "thermal" nutrons used for conventional nuclear explosives. Remember that almost anything will fission when struck by fast nutrons. Given that the chain reactions will not be self sustaining, a very large imput will be required to ensure that enough of the pile is fissioned so that the 17% of fast nutrons liberated will eventialy fission the entire pit as the reaction dies down. About three generations to fission an additional 21% beyond the origionaly targeted core.

Don't you love the way he just makes up numbers out of thin air without showing any kind of basis? I find it particularly amusing that he simply ignores the little detail of the 6000km of rock and iron between the beam and the core as well as the "opaque plasma layer" problem and the mean-free-path problem (even though anyone familiar with real-life nuclear weapons should know why they don't use tampers more than ~10cm thick), and thinks you can fission 5 quadrillion tons of U238 with 1 ton of neutrons (in reality, that would only be enough to interact with 238 tons of U238, scattering rather than fissioning in >95% of those interactions).

Alternatively, we can simply look at the "Ivy Mike" nuclear weapon test in 1952, which was a good test of his theory since it bombarded a massive ~5 ton natural uranium (ie- non-enriched) tamper with fast fusion neutrons from a deuterium source (subsequent designs used enriched-uranium tampers for reasons which will become clear). D-D and D-T fusion both produce 1 neutron per fusion event, carrying more than 40% of the total energy produced by the reaction. Ergo, the 2.4 megaton fusion energy production of "Ivy Mike" produced roughly 1 megaton of neutron radiation, which caused only 7.8 megatons of fast-fission in the U238 tamper even though it was carefully arranged into a cylinder around the neutron source and then vapourized and compressed toward it! In other words, even if you disregard all of the physics data presented earlier, a well-documented experiment using a natural uranium tamper indicates a 1:8 ratio between the energy of the neutron radiation and the energy of the resulting fast-fission, despite optimal geometry. Now imagine rearranging that ¼m³ thin-walled cylinder of uranium into an 80cm wide solid sphere; whereas 100% of the original cylinder's mass might have been within 10cm of the exposed surface, now only 20% of it would be so exposed. For Stewart's imaginary 80km wide sphere, only a millionth of it would be so exposed.

Let us summarize:

Adios, Stewart. You put forth a mighty effort and you demonstrated your skills at bullshittery, however it was soon obvious that the spirit was willing but the brain was weak. Clearly, someone needs to take you aside and explain something to you:

Quitters never win, winners never quit, but those who never win and never quit are idiots

Do you see that guy? It's you, Stewart.

Acknowledgements

I wish to thank everyone who participated in the various forum threads mentioned here. I also wish to thank Vympel and Sea Skimmer for providing sources and data on Japanese and Soviet military forces, Geran for discovering that the "Strategic Defense Institute" was somebody's basement, Aerius for looking up his "unclassified texts" and discovering that they were actually history books, and Phil Skayhan for his hilarious Photoshopping. And of course, I wish to thank Stewart Davies himself, for being such a remarkably entertaining and stubborn fool.



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